News / Asia

Japan's Abe Condemned for Visit to Controversial War Shrine

Japan's Abe Condemned for Visit to Controversial War Shrinei
X
December 26, 2013 10:35 AM
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine Thursday, sparking outrage in China and South Korea and further damaging Japan's already frosty relations with the region.
Daniel Schearf
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the controversial Yasukuni shrine Thursday, sparking outrage in China and South Korea and further damaging Japan's already frosty relations with the region. Yasukuni shrine honors the country's nearly 2.5 million war dead, including convicted World War II war criminals.
 
Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, JapanYasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
x
Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo, Japan
Abe said his visit was a personal one to honor the spirits of the dead and was not meant to hurt Chinese or Korean sentiments. He said his presence was meant to show Japan was against war.
 
Nonetheless, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang responded sharply to Abe's action.
 
Qin said the Chinese government wished to express strong outrage and protest, and solemnly condemns Japanese leaders ruthlessly trampling the feelings of Chinese people, and people of other war-affected Asian countries, and bluntly challenging historical justice and human conscience.
 
South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted an un-named government official saying the shrine visit would have diplomatic repercussions.
 
Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine

  • Shinto shrine built in 1869 to enshrine the souls of around 2.5 million war dead
  • Commemorates 14 men convicted of war crimes after Japan's World War II surrender
  • Seen by many Asians as a symbol of Japan's brutal imperialistic era
  • Has become a rallying point for some conservative Japanese lawmakers
Since taking office a year ago, Abe has sought summit meetings with the new leaders in China and South Korea. However, both Beijing and Seoul have shunned the Japanese prime minister, blaming him for trying to re-interpret Japan's colonial and war time history.
 
Japan's neighbors are also concerned about Abe's plans to change the country’s pacifist constitution to expand the role of Japan's self-defense forces.
 
South Korea's Minister of Culture, Yoo Jin-ryong, read a short statement on live TV on behalf of the government, in which he said Abe’s trip to the Yasukuni shrine shows his incorrect understanding of history. He also said that the visit was an anachronistic action which damages fundamental stability and cooperation in Northeast Asia.
 
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe bows beside a Shinto priest as he visits Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe follows a Shinto priest to pay respect for the war dead at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe arrives at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.
  • Visitors hang fortune blessing papers at Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, Dec. 26, 2013.

Abe is the first sitting prime minister to visit the shrine since 2006, when Junichiro Koizumi went to pay respects. Koizumi’s frequent trips to Yasukuni fueled anti-Japanese sentiment and rioting in China.
 
To help repair relations, Abe declined to visit the shrine during his first term in office (2006-2007) or in August to mark the anniversary of Japan's surrender.
 
It is not clear why he chose to visit Yasakuni now when Japan's relations in Northeast Asia are at a low point over territorial disputes and historical grievances.
 
The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo expressed disappointment with Abe's action and said it will worsen tensions with Japan's neighbors.
 
VOA Seoul Bureau Producer Youmi Kim contributed to this report.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: liu from: china
January 10, 2014 9:56 AM
as a chinese, i wanna say that there is no chance


by: Yoshi from: Spporo
December 29, 2013 4:51 AM
Being afraid of known to few foreigners, I would like to tell you how come fourteen war criminals have been enrolled into the list of Yasukuni shrine. More than thirt years after the end of WWII, it was done by Yasukuni shrine secretly and privately responding to the requests of war crimnals' survivers. It was probably conducted with no commitment of Japanese government because Yasukuni had already been moved from state-run to corporate body in 1946. It has been a kind of excuse for government to decline to make Yasukuni exclude war criminals from its worshipping list.

Anyway the most important things for us Japanese, especially for Japanese government is surely to make it clear by ourselves who were responsible for and should be accused for the WWII. Disappointingly we have war criminals only ruled by Tokyo trials conducted unilaterally by alied countries but not by our own rules. Abe has to make it clear regarding this issue before visiting Yasukun. I can not help telling Abe's gandfather, Kishi was a trade miminter during the war and accused as A grade war criminals, but he was bailed allegedy as a trade off for deplomatic deals benefitting the allys thereafter.


by: Double Standards
December 29, 2013 3:30 AM
No big deal.It is an Oriental practice to worship the war deads.The Chinese have been doing the same.Every year in January,the Chinese commerorate the death of the thousands of Chinese soldiers who died during the invasion of North Vietnam in 1979.It were these soldiers who had committed butchery,rape and attrocities against innocent Vietnamese civilians.The Vietnamese government is not happy about it but is too powerless to condemn or protest against it.How could you invade a country,lay waste to 6 provinces and call it a "defensive war", and glorify it? Japanese crimes were things of the past and the Japanese have learnt their lesson,that is why they adopted the Pacifist Constitutions.It is the present Chinese territorial ambitions,which are real and threatening the peace,stability and prosperity of Asia at the moment.The Chinese have been butchering the Tibetans,Uighurs and Vietnamese in the thousands,so they are in no positon to criticise anyone for war attrocities unless they stop these murderous acts themselves first.For now,an economically and militarily strong Japan is the only hope and deterent left for Asia.Without the Japanese defiance and resolve,it is just a matter of time before China take over the whole region by force.America let the Chinese take away the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines in 2013 right under their nose even when both countries have a Joint Defence Pact.How do you expect Japan to rely on America's commitments then? Japan is better off relying on itself for its own defence.The people of Vietnam and the Philippines solemnly pay great respect to you,Mr Abe,Sir.You are the light at the end of our tunnels.Down with Chinese imperialism !

In Response

by: Anonymous from: j
January 09, 2014 2:11 AM
dumb


by: Donald Fraser Miles from: Canada
December 28, 2013 9:12 AM
Let us hope that Japan finds its military position in a non-imperialist strategy. Japan can have a strong military for its country without drawing upon negative times in its past.


by: ron from: japan
December 26, 2013 10:19 PM
it is wrong to call Yasukuni War Shrine.it has been named by bad intention.why don't you think any prim ministers to do so? the point is to the criminals there, I think. it is sure that no one respects the criminals in japan. We pray for the peploes who have been killed in all wars .

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 29, 2013 4:15 AM
I agree no one respect war crimials so that war criminals should never be worshipped in any countries. They should be separated from the enrollment list of Yasukuni shrine.


by: Welder from: China
December 26, 2013 8:51 PM
No one can condone Japan's aggression against China and other Asia countries in the WWII. And the blood killers are hornored in the Yasukuni shrine by someone like Mr. Abe. Think about that.

In Response

by: No Tonsland from: Japan
December 26, 2013 11:08 PM
Please correct your post; 'China and other Asia countries' is wrong. "China and Chinese living in other Asian counries" is correct. See the recent territorial issue in the South China sea. Other ASEAN countries ally Japan, not China.

In Response

by: ron from: japan
December 26, 2013 10:25 PM
your big wrong. all japanese is like abe !? really yo think so too? we not like abe at all


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 26, 2013 8:49 PM
I have to tell you, especially to Chinese people those who probably can not reach Japanese media, that their major stances for Abe's visit to Yasukuni are skeptical and unfavorable reflecting dominant thoughts of Japanese general people. We certainly have honor to victims but not to war criminals. War criminals, besides who defined war criminals and which countires belong to, lead also Japanese people to death in battle fields as well as enemies.You should know there is a lot of voice in Japan that criminals should be excluded from Yasukuni shrine, then PM can fairly visit Yasukuni. Unfortunately some reasons have been preventing Japanese government from making such a decision. I hope neighboring nations urge Japanese government to do so. Thank you.

In Response

by: ron from: Japan
December 26, 2013 10:20 PM
you good !!


by: Joe from: Australia
December 26, 2013 8:21 PM
There is a key reason why Japan is not viewed by the rest of Asia in the same way that Germany is viewed by the rest of Europe. While both have a similarly vile wartime atrocities against civilians, Germany acknowledged that they committed unthinkable crimes, they taught their young about it, and resolved to never go down the same path again. Japan however, routinely denies their crimes against humanity (which in many circumstances were even more extreme than the Nazis), whitewashed these crimes in their history textbooks, and is now led by a right winger who is intent on remilitarising the country. Imagine the fallout if Angela Merkel went to pay her respects to the remains of Hitler (which instead of being destroyed by Soviets was placed in a shrine honoring their Nazi past).

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 26, 2013 9:59 PM
Who could compare what Hitler have done including holocaust with Japanese military progression to Asia?


by: mark royal from: nyc
December 26, 2013 8:10 PM
How does this rate to Reagan's visit to the Germany gravesite which contained the graves of 49 members of the Waffen-ss? At least Abe was visiting his own people.

In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
December 26, 2013 11:11 PM
Good point.


by: Michael M from: Arlington, Va
December 26, 2013 9:02 AM
Is this visit any more reprehensible than China's president celebrating Mao's birthday after that monster killed 70 million? People who live in glass houses.......

In Response

by: Da Shun Mao from: Japan
December 26, 2013 1:01 PM
I agree. Now, very few people, even Chinese, pay attention to Mao's anniversary compared to Abe's. It's really funny! Chinese people! before provoking Japan, resolve your serious air pollution by learning Japanese technologies and excellent cultures. Tokyo's air is much clearer than that in Beijing...literally and politically.

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid